On July 25, an article on the China-CELAC Forum by Cuban journalists Yaima Puig Meneses and Leticia Martínez Hernández appeared in Granma , the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, which also functions as the daily newspaper in Cuba. Granma is an excellent source of news on international events. It differs from the major international news media both in the items that it selects for news coverage as well as the perspective taken. It represents the current perspective of the Cuban Revolution on world affairs.
The article by Puig and Martínez describes the formal establishment of the China-CELAC Forum (see “China-CELAC cooperation” 7/25/2014) as “an historic milestone for the nations that compose it. Our region, historically plundered and beaten by foreign powers, now receives respectful treatment and gratitude from the Asian giant” (2014:9).
Puig and Martínez summarize the major points of the Joint Declaration emitted by China and CELAC on July 17. In addition to confirming that the First Ministerial Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum will be held in Beijing, the document emphasizes the need to strengthen capacity for the flow of goods and information among the participating nations, and to this end to develop the infrastructure of transportation and communication, including railroads, roads, ports, airports, and telecommunications, and it affirms that the participating nations seek to establish an association based on equality, mutual benefit, reciprocal cooperation, and common development. Here it should be noted that in the core-peripheral relation, the core powers financed the construction of an infrastructure designed to facilitate the flow of raw materials from the periphery to the core and of manufactured goods from the core to the periphery. But what is envisioned in the Declaration is the development of an infrastructure to facilitate commerce among the nations of the South, the lack of which was a significant obstacle to putting into practice the historic Third World vision of non-alignment (see “The fall & rise of South-South cooperation” 7/24/2014).
The Cuban journalists describe the project that China proposes as a program for the integral development of cooperation, driven by three engines: commerce, investment, and financial cooperation. The commercial accords should be designed to increase the economic growth of both parties. Investment should be reciprocal, and oriented toward the productive sectors and the diversification of production. This will require financial cooperation between the central banks, which will liquidate the commercial exchanges in national currencies. With respect to Latin America, the priorities of cooperation fall into six areas: energy and natural resources, infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacturing, technical innovations, and computer technology. As an initial concrete step, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the establishment of a Special Credit for Chinese and Latin American and Caribbean infrastructure, which will provide lines of credit under preferential conditions to Latin American and Caribbean nations. (See an interview with Xi Jinping, in which the Chinese president describes China’s program for integral development on an international scale).
The China-CELAC Forum envisions not only commercial relations of mutual benefit but also the establishment of space for dialogue between CELAC and China with respect to global political issues of common interest, such as the democratic reform of the United Nations. As the Chinese President expressed in his address to the China-CELAC meeting,
“China is disposed to strengthen communication and coordination with CELAC concerning important global issues, such as the structures of world government, sustainable development, the response to climate change, and cybernetic security, in international forums and multilateral mechanisms, such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G-20, and the G-77, in order to defend the common interests of the numerous countries on the road to development” (quoted in Puig and Martínez 2014:9).
“a road more ours is taking shape, where our interests also are important and are taken into account; a road that announces a clear sign concerning the strengthening of unity and collaboration and the promotion of South-South cooperation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. Respect for diversity and for principles, support, complementarity, and dialogue. This and more has been left in our region by the encounters between the leaders of China and Latin America and the Caribbean, becoming a milestone for the history of our peoples, not only for the importance for both parties of the establishment of the China-CELAC Forum, but also for the respect and simplicity with which the Asiatic giant has approached Our America.”
Puig Meneses, Yaima y Leticia Martínez Hernández. 1914. “Foro China-CELAC: Una plataforma para el diálogo y la cooperación,” Granma: Órgano Oficial del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba, La Habana, 25 de julio, Págs. 4-5.
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